The open meeting of Hartlepool Independents – Putting Hartlepool First, held this Saturday, resulted in enough new members joining the party to provide for the party to challenge for at least one seat per ward at the May 2012 Local Elections.
A constant stream of potential members attended the meeting in the Grand Hotel, Hartlepool, to discuss the aims, objectives and policies of Hartlepool Independents - Putting Hartlepool First. The majority of those attending decided to sign up as members of the party and over a dozen of them were keen to represent the party as candidates for the Hartlepool council elections.
“It was a great event” said Geoff Lilley, Leader of the Hartlepool Independents – Putting Hartlepool First. “We had a couple of members of other parties who came for a look at us but by far the majority of people who came through the door had come to sign up as members. The appetite for change is definitely out there and Hartlepool Independents – Putting Hartlepool First are definitely being seen as a vehicle to provide that change”
The new party was formed last year and the meeting in the Grand Hotel was its first recruitment event. In addition to new members the party also received donations towards the costs of the forthcoming elections.
Initially Hartlepool Independents – Putting Hartlepool First had targeted to have at least one candidate in each of the eleven new wards. However, the party already has more than the eleven candidates required to achieve this aim and so are looking at fighting all three seats in a number of target wards.
“There are several existing independent councillors, one or two former councillors and some active campaigners on various issues whom we would have liked to see join us” said Stephen Allison, Party Secretary of Hartlepool Independents – Putting Hartlepool First. “Unfortunately some of these individuals have so far decided to remain on the side lines and in at least two cases the existing councillors have possibly now missed the boat for selection in their current wards as Candidates for Hartlepool Independents – Putting Hartlepool First.”
The party will be holding another meeting shortly and will announce its selected candidates for target wards before the end of January. “Its time to stand up and be counted” said Party Treasurer, Steve Gibbon “if anyone really wants to put Hartlepool First then they should join us and put their money where their mouth is. Together we can really make a difference".